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Charlotte’s Web: Civic Involvement

By Charlotte Jackson

Earlier this week, I served as the Presiding Judge at one of the Precincts located in Senate District 6. There were only 33 eligible voters who cast their ballot at our location, as well as three who needed to visit another location. In addition, we had eight local residents who took time out of their busy day to stop in to vote. Unfortunately, they reside in Senate District 15 and were not eligible to vote in this Special Election.

Several of those who voted asked how were the Election Workers chosen. Some of them did not realize the workers were paid. Some were under the misconception that you had to be retired to work. As we explained to them, I realized that perhaps there were others with these same questions.

If you are a Registered Voter, you can contact the Harris County Clerk’s Office and ask to be added to the list of those who are interested in working future elections. Typically, if your voting precinct has an elected Precinct Chair, they are contacted to serve as the Presiding Judge for the upcoming election. They are then responsible for recruiting workers.

People ask why would someone spend 12 – 14 hours on Election Day working for $10 an hour. To me, it is something that I learned early in life. When I was a Senior at North Shore Senior High, my Government Teacher, Ms Mary Lou Dillard, handed each student an application to become a registered voter. She did this the first week of our Senior year. She then returned it to us 30 days before our 18th birthday so we could verify that the information was still correct. Then she mailed it to the County Clerk’s Office. She taught us throughout that year that if you did not take the time to vote, you would not have the right to complain is the elected leaders did not work for you.

When I went off to the University of Texas, I had an amazing class that combined American History and Government. The two instructors, who were of complete opposite political views, taught us to respect those who did not agree but to get involved. Make a difference.

Later after coming to work for San Jacinto College, I had a colleague that encouraged her students to help fill those empty Precinct Chair positions in our community. She came to me after realizing my area was not represented. About the same time, someone who worked for a local Senator told me about working as an Election Clerk. And so my journey began.

Each election that I am asked to serve as a Presiding Judge, I look around and see if there are neighbors who are interested in serving, making a little money and getting to know others in the community. This election, I was blessed to have four very unique and interesting neighbors who joined me for the day. As the day went on, we were able to learn about each other, as well as those who came in to vote. We discussed changes we would like to see and I encouraged them to take time to write a note to each of their elected officials, thanking them for what they do for us. If you are interested for 2019, get involved.